Re-Inventing the Gap Analysis
Just What Is a Gap Analysis?
Gap analysis simply refers to a method of examining the performance of an information system or software solution to identify whether the requested requirements have been met.
I was recently in a conference call where one of the key players responded that the gap analysis of a proposed software solution “did not discover anything worth mentioning.” In my notes of that moment, I put this phrase into my top 10 Darwinian business quotes. Purchasing decisions should not be made without an accurate and in-depth gap analysis.
There are a couple of key takeaways…
First: If there are no gaps, did you ask the right questions?
Gap analysis is often one of the last chores in the purchasing decision and most prone to be inadequate. When you are purchasing critical systems (such as sequencing,) your success is often determined by how quickly you make a decision (without skipping the business-wise purchasing steps) usually leaving no time for the critical gap analysis.
Second: Every gap needs to have a costed business case – “Can you live with it or live without it?”
Even though you may identify many gaps, it is important to answer the question above before you purchase. When these gaps are identified beforehand, the implementation will go smoother because you will have already discussed the workaround.
Third: A quarterly gap analysis should be a scheduled effort by every supervisor in the plant.
Your plant personnel often just live with issues that they are experiencing. Encourage them by implementing a reporting process for those issues and then implement a plan for change.
A final thought:
The gap analysis should be a never-ending business practice. Your team knows how to make their jobs more efficient. It is important to listen for “all I want is…” and “this is stupid” and “why can’t it (the software) just do this?” Remember that within every criticism there is a treasure or two that can be found.